Cat Insulin Resistance

Cat insulin is a synthetic form of insulin that's administered to cats suffering from diabetes mellitus. Cat diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce sufficient insulin or if the body doesn't respond appropriately to the amount of insulin produced. Pets suffering from diabetes have high blood sugar levels, which could lead to life-threatening situations if not treated promptly. Feline diabetes may develop due to varying factors such as obesity, genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalance. In order to treat diabetes, the vet will perform diagnostic tests to rule out underlying conditions such as pancreatic disorders, hyperthyroidism and Cushings disease.

Treatment of Feline Diabetes with Insulin

Type 1 diabetes generally requires insulin treatment. Pet owners should be able to make a commitment in terms of both time and money to administer insulin injections. Blood glucose levels will also have to be monitored frequently to determine any changes. Most pets are prescribed long acting insulin medication that controls blood glucose for a longer period of time. In order to determine the cat's response to insulin, it's necessary to start treatment. The dosage is then adjusted to suit individual cat needs. Extremely high or low blood sugar levels should be monitored and treated accordingly.

Insulin Resistance

Although most cats respond favorably to insulin, few develop insulin resistance, which occurs due to bodily changes or inability of the body to respond to insulin. Pet owners should follow methods to home test diabetic pets, in order to prevent life-threatening conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis.

Common Causes of Insulin Resistance Include:

  • Incorrect administration of insulin
  • Overactive liver
  • Drug interactions
  • Diet
  • Antibodies

Incorrect Administration of Insulin

Various factors such as using a different syringe or faulty administration can change the body's response to insulin. In addition, insulin that has passed the expiration date or insulin that's kept in high temperatures may not function effectively, and can cause insulin resistance.

Overactive Liver

This is also known as the Somogyi response, and occurs when an excess amount of insulin is injected into the pet's body. Once this happens, the body produces various hormones that cause an increase in blood glucose levels. The insulin dosage will then be altered in order to determine if the cat is really suffering from insulin resistance.

Drug Interactions

Administration of drugs such as prednisone, cortisone or glucocorticoids such as dexamethasone can interfere with insulin absorption or reduce the effectiveness of insulin and lead to insulin resistance. In addition, pets treated with medication for underlying conditions such as hyperthyroidism, liver disease or pancreatitis may also develop insulin resistance.


Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with oral medication and diet. Pets suffering from type 1 diabetes should also have a diet plan, as diets high in carbohydrates can reduce the effectiveness of insulin, causing pets to require higher dosages to keep the blood glucose levels normal.


Pets suffering from insulin resistance may have a high number of antibodies present in the blood. These antibodies are the body's response to insulin medication, as it treats insulin like a foreign object and develops antibodies to combat insulin. However, newer forms of insulin reduce the pet's susceptibility to insulin resistance caused by antibodies.

The vet will have to re-examine pets that don't respond to insulin or develop insulin resistance, to choose a treatment option that works effectively to control diabetes.